Light winds start Youth Match Racing World Championship

Published on February 27th, 2020

Auckland, New Zealand (February 27, 2020) – New Zealander Nick Egnot-Johnson and Australian Finn Tapper are the early leaders after going undefeated on day one at the Harken 2020 Youth Match Racing World Championship.

Egnot-Johnson and Tapper both notched up five wins from five on what a was a very light and tricky opening day, but the wins didn’t come easily – with both skippers just winning on the line in their races against Ted Blowers’ Great Britain team. However, a perfect start is a perfect start, and both were pretty happy with how things unfolded.

“It was light out there but we are always pretty good in the light winds so we knew we just had to stick to our guns and not make any mistakes,” said Egnot-Johnson. “That race against Ted {Blowers} was really close, and we had a bit of an issue up the front of the boat, but we just managed to win on an umpires call on the line. It doesn’t get any closer than that, but a wins a win.”

Tapper was pleased at the day, particularly as several of the teams raced last week in the Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup. “We did a lot things right today as a team, some of the races were tight, but it feels good to bank five wins and move on to tomorrow.”

Jordan Stevenson (NZ) and Emil Kjaer (DEN) are the next best with four wins from five. Stevenson’s only loss came against Tapper while Kjaer went down to Aurélien Pierroz (FRA).

“Really happy with that start to be honest,” shared Stevenson. “We have a bit of a rejigged team from last week and it was super light out there, so to only lose one race isn’t bad at all. We’ve now figured a few things out as a team so we will be rearing to go again tomorrow and there is plenty more racing to come.”

Pierroz and Jack Parkin (USA) are the next best with three wins, followed by James Hodgson (AUS), David Wood (USA), and Sonja Stock (RSA) who have two wins. Hodgson, who won last week’s HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Cup at the RNZYS, had a tough start to the day losing his first three races, but came back to win the next two and keep himself well in the hunt for an automatic quarterfinal berth.

Sonja Stock, the only female skipper in the line-up, had an incredibly difficult start to the day having to race against both kiwi skippers Stevenson and Egnot-Johnson, which she lost, followed by another loss to Kjaer.

However, her and her team picked themselves up and came back strong to notch up wins over Parkin and Pierroz. It was a very impressive response against teams who would have fancied themselves for a win, and with plenty of races against lower ranked teams to come, she is now in a good position to push on and move up the standings.

“It was a lot to take in today, we had a really really rocky start having to race against the top ranked teams and we weren’t in the best head-space,” admitted Stock. “But after that we pulled ourselves together and started winning.

“I’m not used to having so many other boats around the start-line, back home when we practice it’s just us and our competitors so to try and avoid three other flights that are going on is a bit to get used to. But the day ended on a high, two wins out of the five races so we’re feeling a bit more confident on the boat, each tack each gybe we learn something new.”

Ted Blowers (GBR), Ludovic Mori (ITA), and Marius Westerlind (SWE) are the only three teams without a win. Racing will resume at 10am (NZT) tomorrow.

Event detailsResultsFacebook

Twelve teams from ten different nations will compete in Elliott 7 Keelboats on February 27-March 1 with the format to include a Round Robin stage, Semi Finals, Petit Final and Final. All competitors shall be under 23 years old on December 31, 2020 (i.e., born after December 31, 1997).

Source: Andrew Delves, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

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